Author: Khaperai Yousufzai
In the aftermath of 9/11, Pakhtuns have been at war with an undefined enemy for the past 17 years. The war seems to have come to a point where they don’t see a way out but somehow want a way out at any cost.
In the past 16 years, from my college to university and from student to professional life, I have never witnessed the land of Pakhtuns at peace for a single day (and I am not exaggerating).
Dozens of military operations have been launched in North & South Waziristan, aiming to clear the area from the terrorists, have ended in creating more mess. A bloody episode of Taliban uprising in Swat and a non-stop series of suicide attacks have killed more than 70,000 unarmed civilians. This is the cost of the war that Pakistan has brought upon itself.
Then came a tragic massacre of school children at Army Public School, perhaps one of the deadliest across the globe in recent history. But none of these killings have done what the extra judicial killing of a very innocent-looking young man Naqibullah Mehsud has done for Pakhtuns.
The cold-blooded murder of Naqeeb was highlighted since he was very active on social media. Naqeeb’s heavy presence on social media has fueled the rage against his killing, consequently shaping the angst into a well-organized protest in the capital of Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of Facebook and Twitter posts with Naqeeb’s name are sparking a debate that has not been seen before.
Naqeebullah was killed in Karachi by a high-ranking police officer Rao Anwar on alleged links with the Pakistani Taliban, an allegation later dismissed by the joint investigation team put together for his case.
Mr Rao Anwar, who is notorious for extra judicial encounters and some sources say he has killed hundreds of people in police encounter before Naqeebullah’s case, is now on the run.
The protesters are demanding justice for Naqeebullah and for all other young men like him, who have been killed without judicial process, without even giving them a single chance to defend themselves. The injustice of the state has finally sparked a revolution in a nation who let it happen for too long.
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The crowed is huge, the young men taking the stage are clear-headed and determined, they know what to say and how to deliver it. They also know how to get the message out- they know the art of social media, hashtags, tagging and spreading the word out.
The huge crowd is charged and energetic but there is a small problem too, the mainstream media of Pakistan isn’t covering the protest.
Guess, this is not a sit-in against the government, probably that’s why, or maybe they needed to take Khadim Rizvi along to say few words against the most persecuted minority of Pakistan or maybe they need to chant some patriotic slogans. Only then, their grievances will be recorded, and if they get lucky, they will get return fare from an Army officer.
Whatever the reason may be, even veteran journalists like Hamid Mir are silent. And let them bury their heads in sand, because in current times social media is more powerful than mainstream media. Media silence in itself is contributing to the injustice done to the people of Pakistan, the people now want to persuade the state to live and let live in peace.